BLS: Workplace Fatalities Spiked Nearly 6% in 2022

Construction worker wearing safety harness and safety line working on construction

Every day, workers across New York and the United States die on the job. Most of these deaths are due to workplace safety measures and hazardous work environments. In recent years, the workers’ compensation attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP have seen a staggering number of workplace fatalities. That’s why our law firm is committed to helping injured workers and their families get the benefits they deserve.

How much have workplace fatalities increased in recent years?

In 2022, the U.S. witnessed a significant increase in workplace fatalities. This marked a concerning trend in occupational safety. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), released on December 19, there were 5,486 on-the-job deaths. This reflected a 5.7% rise compared to 2021.

This alarming figure has surpassed the 5,000 threshold for the sixth time in the past seven years, as recorded in the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The number of workplace fatalities is considerably higher than the 4,764 fatalities reported in 2020, which was the lowest since 4,585 deaths were documented in 2013. The period from 2009 to 2015 had consistently seen fatalities below 5,000.

The fatal work injury rate also showed an increase to 3.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers from 3.6 in 2021. Transportation incidents continue to be the leading cause of occupational deaths, accounting for 2,066 fatalities or 37.7% of the total workplace fatalities.

A particularly concerning trend is the rise in unintentional overdose deaths, which increased by 13.1% to 525 in 2022. This is up from 464 in 2021.

This data release is part of two annual reports by BLS, with the first report released on November 8, focusing on nonfatal injuries and illnesses among private-sector employees.

What is the frequency of workplace fatalities?

Additional insights from the BLS report include the frequency of workplace deaths. A worker succumbed to job-related injuries every 96 minutes in 2022, compared to every 101 minutes in 2021. The sectors most affected were transportation and material moving, with 1,620 fatalities. Construction and extraction were also highly affected, with 1,056 deaths.

The report also showed increased fatality rates among Black/African American workers (4.2 per 100,000 FTE) and Hispanic/Latino workers (4.6), up from 4.0 and 4.5, respectively, in 2021. Transportation incidents remained a major cause of death for these groups.

How can employers prevent worker deaths?

This continues a pattern of annual increases that began in 2012. In response, the National Safety Council is urging employers to take more preventive measures. They highlighted the importance of overdose and naloxone awareness. That includes access to naloxone in workplace first aid kits and adopting programs to prepare workplaces and employees for emergency life-saving situations.

What are my legal options if I lost a loved one in a workplace accident?

If your loved one was fatally injured on the job, you may be able to seek death benefits through the New York workers’ compensation system. These are ongoing payments made to the deceased worker’s dependents. This could include a spouse, children, or other family members who were financially dependent on the worker.

Workers’ compensation also covers reasonable funeral and burial costs up to a certain limit. It may also cover medical expenses incurred due to the injury or illness that led to your loved one’s death.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim in New York can be a very complex process. If you’re not sure where to begin, the attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP can help. Our experienced legal team understands the nuances of the New York workers’ compensation system. We can ensure that your paperwork is properly filled out and filed and that you obtain the compensation you’re rightfully entitled to under New York law.

We proudly serve clients in NYC and across New York State. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call one of our New York law offices.

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